tv Martin Bashir MSNBC December 27, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
extremism. an interest group out of control, not a government. democrats, even red state democrats, take note, sandy hook put a face on unlimited gun rights and an nra run amok. it's time to stop being afraid of the nra. time to stop changing the subject when guns are brought up. you, democratic politicians, can run on common sense gun restrictions, and you can win. for the first time in decades, there is now a political price to be paid for gun extremism, and i have got an idea for your first commercial. did you happen to see wayne lapierre on "meet the press"? that does it for us on "the cycle." karen finney is in the chair for martin bashir and it is all yours. >> thanks, krystal. good afternoon. i'm karen finney in for martin bashir on this thursday, december 27th. the president is back in washington, the senate is working against the clock, and speaker boehner, yeah, he's
m.i.a. >> no new negotiations are scheduled. >> congress has five days to strike a deal before the end of the year deadline. >> they're calling it the fiscal cliff. [ speaking foreign language ] >> john boehner seems to care more about keeping his speakership than about keeping the nation on firm financial footing. >> let's take the american people out of the line of fire in terms of taxes. >> it's being operated with a dictatorship of the speaker. >> i have never known john boehner not to have a plan. >> it seems pretty dark right now. >> it looks like there's no way there's going to be any deal done. >> so i say to the speaker, take the escape hatch we've left you. >> we're not going to get anything done that doesn't involve some measure of compromise. >> it's not 100% sure that's going to work any longer, and now that we know how fanatical the fanatics are. >> it's like blah, blah, blah.
a very busy day here in washington and we want to take you right to the senate floor where senator mitch mcconnell is actually speaking about the fiscal cliff. let's take a listen. >> we'll see what the president has to propose. members on both sides of the aisle will review it, and then we'll decide how best to proceed. hopefully, there's still time for an agreement of some kind that saves the taxpayers from a wholly, wholly preventable economic crisis. mr. president, i yield the floor. >> the majority leader. >> i'm not sure my distinguished republican counterpart has followed what has taken place in the house of representatives. the house, as reported lie the press and we all know, one of
the plans that didn't have a name, it wasn't plan "b," i don't know what plan it was because they've had a number over there, but this plan was to show the american people that the $250,000 ceiling on raising taxes wouldn't pass in the house. why didn't they have that vote? because it would have passed. they wanted to kill it. the speaker wanted to show everybody that it wouldn't pass the house. but he couldn't bring it up for vote because it would have passed. republicans, a myriad of republicans, think it's a fair thing to do, and, of course, every democrat would vote for that. the republican leader finds himself frustrated that the president has called on him to help address the fiscal cliff. he's upset because, quote, the phone never rang. he complains that i have not delivered the votes to pass a solution to the fiscal cliff but he's in error. we all know that in july of this
year we passed in the senate the relief that it would give to middle class americans. that passed the senate. now, we know that the republicans have buried themselves in procedural road blocks to everything we try to do around here, and now they're saying, well, we can't do the $250,000 because it wasn't blue slipped, because it will be blue slipped. mr. president, how do the american people react to that? there was a bill introduced by the ranking member of the ways and means committee in the house, sandy levin, that called for this legislation. the speaker was going to bring it up to kill it, but he couldn't kill it, and then we moved to plan bsm"b," the debac of all debacles. it's the other of all debacles. that was brought up in an effort to send us something. he couldn't even pass it among the republicans it was so
absurd. he, meaning the speaker. so it's very clear now, mr. president, that the speaker's number one goal is to get elected speaker on january 3rd. the house is not even here. he's told me he'll give them two days to get back here, 48 hours, not two days, 48 hours. they don't even have enough of the leadership here to meet to talk about it. they've done it with conference calls. people are spread all over this country because the speaker basically is waiting for january 3rd. now, the president campaigned on raising taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year. the bush era tax cuts will expire at the end of this year. obama was elected with a surplus of about 3 million votes. he won the election, he campaigned on this issue.
again, the speaker can't take yes for an answer. the president has presented to him something that would prevent us from going over the cliff. it was in response to something the speaker gave to the president himself, but, again i guess with the dysfunctional republican caucus in the house, even the speaker can't tell what they're going to do because he backed off of even his own proposal. mr. president, the house, we hear this so often, is controlled by the republicans, and we acknowledge that. i would be most happy to move forward on something that senator mcconnell said they wouldn't filibuster over here that they would support and boehner would support it if it were reasonable, but right now we haven't heard anything.
i don't know, and it's none of my business, i guess, although i am very curious, if the speaker and the majority leader, the republican leader over here are even talking. what's going on here? mr. president, you can't legislate with yourself. we have nobody to work with, to compromise. that's what legislation is all about, the ability to compromise. >> let's bring in nbc's luke russert and mike viqueira. thanks, guys, for joining me. so, guys, that is about as close to fighting words as we get on the senate floor. >> yeah. >> clearly though, luke, the strategy seems to be to put -- you know, senator reid is trying to put this back on boehner and really make the case that, hey, we in the senate, we've passed something, we could, you know, if the house would get back here, we could pass it right now, avert this cliff, and everybody could go home. that seems to be their strategy.
>> and you heard right there harry reid really laying into republicans saying you guys have not been around. we have nobody to negotiate with. you know, negotiating to come to a compromise. a real interesting plan of attack by harry reid. mitch mcconnell came to the senate flor and said we await to hear from the president regarding any plan that he has moving forward but we're not just going to give a blank check over to democrats because we're on the edge of a fiscal cliff. and harry reid coming down and essentially tearing apart mitch mcconnell saying speaker boehner couldn't pass plan bmpld, you guys haven't done anything. show us where your cards are. what's interesting though is, karen, is what we know about who the house republicans are going to do. they're going to come back at 6:30 p.m. on sunday. eric cantor told them to be prepared to be in session through january 2nd. so remember yesterday we talked about optics, how bad it was for them to look like they weren't going to be in washington, d.c. they no longer have that problem. john boehner, one member who is
on that conference call earlier today, told me, he said we're going to see what the senate has to do and what they will give us. he also made clear that he would not be comfortable putting a bill on the floor that would need all democratic votes to pass and only a handful of republicans. meaning as of right now, john boehner is sticking by the hastert rule. that's very significant because he feels that maybe they get something large scale if they can get a lot of republicans or this is just all for show to show the american people they're still there to the end. >> hold on. 6:30 on sunday? i mean, as harry reid pointed out, that's 48 hours. i mean, in terms of the optics and as you said, it's conference calls and no real details coming from the house republicans on what it is they would accept as harry reid was pointing out. 6:30 on sunday feels like not a real sense of urgency. >> no. it's this idea that they should be around here waiting for something to occur, but the urgency has not really been there to be honest with you either side the last few days.
now you're starting to see it from the senate and harry reid. but for the house republicans it's get your ball gown and tuxedo on monday on capitol hill and be ready to stay there all night. this is so fascinating, karen, because the new congress comes in january 3rd. eric cantor said to this current congress, be willing to stay until january 2nd. this congress expire at midnight january 2nd? that's going to be our deadline to get this done? this is really wild in the context of american politics. >> mike viqueira, so it strikes me that in part, i mean, basically mitch mcconnell didn't say much in that statement. no details coming from mitch mcconnell as harry reid has pointing out in terms of what would be acceptable. it seemed by putting it on boehner to some degree it feels like harry reid is trying to use boehner to sort of get under mitch mcconnell's skin. do we think that's working? >> you know, really, karen, what you see is what you get here. we're in the am not, are too
kind of stage of the school yard fight. seriously. we often see the two leaders square off like this on the floor of the senate. they just have a bigger audience this time and the stakes are exponentially higher than usual, but this is the kind of dysfunction that has led us to this point. what we are likely to see, as luke is reporting, the house come in. they can hardly stay out of town when the nation does go over the cliff. as seems increasingly likely at this point. and what we will undoubtedly see is a last minute flurry of activity, i'm going to go out on a limb, that will amount to a lot of approximates touring and covering of backsides to ensure the other side gets the maximum amount of blame. yes, there will likely be meetings and a flurry of phone calls, but the bottom line and luke has reported quite accurately, the house speaker is not going to put a bill on the floor that does not -- that runs afoul of the invial lat tenets.
he will not put something on the floor that requires a majority democratic support. and then hope renews again the inertia scenario. the vote becomes one to cut taxes and not allow taxes to rise. >> luke and mike, thank you very much. joining us now democratic congressman keith ellison of minnesota. welcome, congressman. >> thanks for having me. >> i know you would rather be in washington getting some work done but i want to play something senator mccandle saond and get your reaction. >> republicans have bent over beckwards. we stepped way, way out of our comfort zone. we wanted an agreement, but we had no takers. the phone never rang. >> now, so do you agree with senator mcconnell that
republicans have bent over backwards. that seems like quite a stretch to me. >> they haven't bent over backwards. they haven't leaned over, they haven't inched over. they haven't done anything. they have stuck with their grover norquist position they're not going it raise taxes on anybody. when the whole plan "b" thing went up, they passed some spending stuff barely and when we were supposed to deal with the tax stuff at a million they couldn't even bring it up for a vote. i have no idea what mitch mcconnell is talking about. it seems to be nothing more than political posturing, but i want to say nobody is trying to put this on john boehner. it's on boehner. he's the speaker, and so it's not of a political bringsmanship or gamesmanship. it's the fact. >> it seems the strategy here, boehner obviously kind of said and i think he's been called out for this, said it's up to the president and the senate. i give up, we're leaving town. i guess now they're going to come back sunday, as if that's going to create some sense of urgency. what strikes me is the message
that continues to come forward is the american people are going to -- believe that the president and democrats are showing real leadership and they will blame the republicans if this deal goes south, and yet when you listen to mcconnell and you listen to speaker boehner, it doesn't sound like they got the message, and as harry reid pointed out, the president won and he won campaigning on these ideas. again, these guys are just being stubborn. >> absolutely. well, you know, the fact is they had -- boehner had to be shamed back to washington. they had to be embarrassed back to washington. i'm quite confident if harry reid and others were putting the pressure to say go back and work on this issue, these fiscal deadlines, we wouldn't be back on sunday night either, but they've gotten embarrassed, so they have to go back. at the end of the day, the american people deserve a congress that will work with an eye toward a compromise, and that's not what they've been getting from the republican side. the bottom line is i hope we
don't go past these fiscal deadlines, but based on what they've been demanding, which is that we stick it to people on social security and leave millionaires, that's just not going to work. >> congressman, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. next, the gop in disarray and a tea party cue day tay. stay with us. >> neither does tim geithner. he gives a speech about hitting the debt ceiling. i'd like to see if he could count to a million much less $16.4 trillion! jishths ♪
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cliff there's another storm going on within the gop involving the tea party and guns. one tea party group held a machine gun social, another a great gun giveaway and dick armey may have used guns to influence his fellow tea partiers. according to "the washington post" mr. armey recently marched into the office of freedom works. he was accompanied by his wife and also a man identified as a former capitol hill police officer who was volunteering his services as a security guard to mr. armey. now, the fact that this security guard was carrying a gun on his waist is a key detail because mr. armey's mission was so force his enemies in freedom works out of the organization. he was carrying out a purge, and the man with the gun actually escorted two of the targets of that purge out of the freedomworks building. so is this what the tea party has come to, an armed coup?
hogan, with an intro like that, you know i got to start with you, my friend. >> of course. >> there's a lot of discord within your party between the fiscal cliff and gun control and this skirmish here with guns at the offices of freedom works. what is going on? >> that is a great question. this is the most odd situation i have read about in a very, very long time. the tea party by it's very nature really should not have a titular head or someone who is the face of the tea party. it's a grassroots movementness and as soon as you try to bottle that and put it under the umbrella of some organization or party you are going to run into serious problems. as far as the gun issue is concerned, obviously there are second amendment advocates within the tea party but it comes on the back of the awful chuting, one of the darkest days in our nation's history.
i think moving forward they need to be careful about how they have this conversation. it doesn't need to be through vit tro yol or hey dread or anger or but a come together let's move this country forward and outline something that looks more uplifting, that looks happy and enthusiastic about where this country could be. that's the type of leadership we need moving forward, not something like this. >> here is the -- i mean, i don't disagree with you, i think that would be great, but just a few moments ago on the senate floor, that is not what we've been seeing and that is certainly not what we've been hearing from speaker boehner nor from minority leader mcconnell. here you have got some of the dynamics, mcconnell is worried about a tea party challenger so he's trying to play one game and boehner is worried about the vote on the 3rd and his job as speaker so he's playing another game. that's not actual leadership. as the senate democrats have pointed out so well, the house could just vote on the bill that the senate has already passed, we could be done. so if what you're saying is your
party needs leadership that's positive and moves us forward, why is it that your leadership doesn't seem to get that? >> well, you know, look, by its very nature, we don't control the white house, so the bully pulpit the president has trickles down to those in the congress. we have lost the election. we have some problems in our party. we're trying to pass legislation to move the country forward. much to the happiness of the people on your side, it looks a little discombobulated on our side but right now we have to buckle down and bring forth meaningful legislation that will avoid the fiscal cliff, show some leadership, and show the american people why republican governance is better. oh, joy, i know you got something you want to say. >> you know what, karen, i just was thinking as you were doing your intro, nothing says republican/tea party like an old
paul and his body man with a gun facing off with a guy with mutton chop side burns. that is the republican party. >> it's supposed to be a grassroots movement. >> that is the republican party and that's the problem. this is a party in complete disarray. they are essentially still the same thing they were before, the plutocrats, the evangelicals, and the sort of archi bunker guys. none of them can agree on what the party is supposed to stand for. the only thing they agree on is they don't believe in raising taxes even if it means just raising taxes on 400,000 people which is what john boehner proposed. literally only raise taxes on 400,000 people. they can't even do that. >> it also seems boehner and mcconnell continue even get on the same page. i can say when, hogan, when my party was going through this in the aftermath of a certain election, we had a situation where democratic leaders tried to at least get on the same page, and i don't feel like that's what we're hearing or
seeing, but you know what? we'll give it some time. you have got some time. joy, i want to ask you a question. african-americans didn't exactly embrace the tea party following its victory in 2010 as you know. >> right. >> in 2012 african-americans accounted for 13% of all votes that were cast, even though we make up just 12% of eligible voters. that strong turnout was due to the initial success of the tea party and the tea party's strident anti-obama message? >> i think the tone of the republican party, the tone of everything from the tea party to talk radio to the offensive things that were constantly shown at tea party rallies. we saw a lot of offensive depictions of barack obama but i think it had to do with elected republicans. these pushes on voter i.d., which were blatant attempts to say certain types of people, it should be harder for them to vote and we should throw up as many barriers as possible in front of minorities, young people, african-americans, and hispanics took that very personally. i think the republican party did as much to energize the black
vote as the democrats did. and you had a sense of protectedness obviously over the first black president. i don't know if what gets you extra percentage point was the protectiveness or the outrage at being blocked from the polls. >> hogan, what role will your new senator from south carolina play in trying to help bring african-americans or at least help african-americans be open to the idea of voting for republicans? what role do you see him playing? >> i hope it's a big one. tim scott is a friend of mine. he's a great guy, but he's not the pied piper. we're not all of a sudden going to have 98% of black people voting for us now, right? >> probably not. >> what i think he offers is some similarity to that community where he came up -- he's an african-american man obviously with a poor background, a single mother. he can come out and articulate a message and get into a door and have a little longer of a time to explain what he thinks about and what he believes just simply
by his race. and i think we're not going see a huge mass exodus from the democrat party from the african-american party but it's a good start for us to have somebody like tim scott out there. >> we're going to have to leave it there. i know joy is a little skeptical. thanks to hogan gidley and joy reid. have a wonderful holiday, new year if i don't see you. >> thanks, god bless, karen. coming up, republicans do something, anything, can they, to make inroads with latinos? stay with us. [ cellphon irping ] [ buzzing ] bye dad. drive safe. k. love you. [ chirping, buzzing continues ] [ horn honks ] [ buzzing continues ] [ male announcer ] the sprint drive first app. blocks and replies to texts while you drive. we can live without the &.
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stay with us, the day's "top lines" are coming up on a very bassey day in our nation's capital. constipated? yeah. mm. some laxatives like dulcolax can cause cramps. capital. but phillips' caplets don't. they have magnesium. for effective relief of occasional constipation. thanks. [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life.
today's "top lines" call me crazy edition. >> if we go over the cliff, and it looks like that's where we're headed. >> it's blik blah, blah, blah. >> the house of representatives aren't here with the speaker telling them they have 48 hours. >> you might look at their appearance. >> i think so. >> they're out wherever they are and we're here trying to get something done. >> they're getting more questions than ever before as it relates to dating about credit score. forget how they look. >> i don't know timewise how it can happen now. >> but it doesn't necessarily tell you everything about a person. people go through divorces and that gets messy. why are you giving me a look? >> house of representatives is operating with a dictatorship of the speaker. >> wtf, what the -- [ speaking foreign language ] >> you're not in washington, d.c. today. i'm not going to come back until there's a reason. >> there's so much manure somewhere there's got to be a pony some place. >> hillary clinton still mnc.i..
>> there's not a gun show loophole. >> what the anti-second amendment movement wants to do is put every gun sale in the country under the thumb of the federal government. >> sorry, the law requires a five-day waiting period. >> that was a completely [ bleep ] idea from the start. >> five days? but i'm mad now. >> if it's crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our school, then call me crazy. >> you're crazy. >> you like to know if you had a deranged neighbor that had a gun. >> how do you know if your neighbor is deranged? >> not every human being should own a gun. not every gun should be available at any time. >> always kind of that guy, here is the weird one that walks down the street. you start wondering if this guy has the gun. >> you're crazy. >> oh, good stuff. let's get right to our panel. professor james peterson is
director of africana studies at lehigh university. and matt lewis is senior contributor to the daily caller. professor, i want to start with you. according to the most recent polling we've seen, you have about 70% of americans mistakenly believe there are already certain licensing and registration measures in place. >> that's right. >> and then we've seen polls that suggest q usa today/gallup poll finds 50% of americans are against banning weapons but support of tougher gun laws jump to 58% this month. so it's all over the place. how do we account for that kind of confusion? >> first, much like the election season, polls have, you know, margins of error that sometimes are not statistically noticeable in how we read them and how we interpret them, but i also think this is a fall for us to come to
terms with what we desire to be in place in terms of gun control. to me the polls reflect we don't know enough. for example, the 51% of the gallup poll, i think that might be the one that shocks people most, we don't want an assault weapons ban? i think a lot of folk, and give the nra their credit, they're disciplined in their messaging. the slippery slope messaging has been very pervasive around the gun control discourses. that's how you get 51% of the folk in this country possibly sayi saying don't want that bhan. we need that discipline on the pro common sense gun safety. >> clearing up the misinformation campaign. >> how about that. >> chief johnson, i want to play something that nr a chief wayne lapierre said on "met the press" this sunday and get your reaction. >> a gun is a tool. the problem is the criminal. every police officer that walks the street knows if you want to control violent crime, take violent criminals off the
street. >> so what strikes me, here he is saying take these criminals off the street. at the same time what he doesn't tell you, the nra has done so much to lobby against, and we saw this in a front page story in "the new york times" yesterday, the kind of measure that is would make it easier for law enforcement to know who is buying guns, where those guns are going. what impact is that having for new law enforcement in terms of trying to just do your job? >> well, law enforcement speaks for law enforcement. certainly we're well-aware of the crisis in america today with gun violence, and certainly we believe there are measures that can be taken, a national background check that addresses some 40% of gun sales that are outside of licensed dealers. in addition, a capacity on high magazines, no more than ten. and certainly the national partnership to prevent gun violence is calling for an assault weapons ban. we know this will help save lives in america and reduce injury. >> so, chief, you said law enforcement speaks for law
enforcement. are you suggesting there that the nra does not speak for law enforcement? >> well, certainly the organization that i represent, the partnership is made up of over nine executive leadership organizations, and we know over decades of experience on this group and many others in law enforcement, know what will work to help reduce violence in america and make our society a safer place. a national background check. lets fix this system today. let's limit these high capacity magazines and let's address this assault weapons issue in america today. >> you know, matt, there's a really important point here that when it comes to guns, republicans claim there can be absolutely no infringement on the right to bear arms and no infringi infringement with any smesh sures that the chief was talking about, but when it comes to our right to vote, there's no problem supporting restrictions like voter i.d. laws or other
methods to limit our other most important right i would say, our constitutional right. how does the republican party square that? >> well, i think you bring up a good point, an interesting point, and i can't speak for the republican party either, but, you know, as a conservative i would say that i think if you vote, you should show your license and if you buy a gun, heck -- i think if you buy a pack of gum with a credit card especially, that you should show your license, and right now if you buy from an actual store, you have to show your license and there is that instant background check. and so the question i guess is over the gun show loophole, and i don't know if there's going to be any sort of gun control enacted or not, but i do suspect that if there is, that will be the area that vice president biden may very well focus. by the way, let me just say that would have done nothing, as you know, to prevent the tragedy that happened recently, but still and all, i think you have
a valid point. >> but some of the measures we talked about i believe would have had an impact on some of the other incidents we've seen over the last several years. it strikes me that the conversation is so distorted when people are waiting eight and nine hours to vote and yet we're saying people can't be asked to wait five days for a gun and i think a lot of people don't realize that once you have that background check, those records are destroyed after 24 hours. >> but also as we're getting further and further away from the newtown tragedy, i hope people don't lose their sense of what it means to that community and what the impact has been on that community. we're going to have these sausage making conversations about common sense gun safety versus gun control versus the nra. i hope we keep the national tragedies in mind as we have those conversations so we can have the kind of compassion that helps us to understand, wait a second, asking for background chekts to purchase firearms across the board, internet, gun shows, is not asking too much. asking we put a robust ban on
assault weapons to me that's not asking too much. we honor the second amendment. we know people have the right to bear arms. >> chief, you know this better than anyone, the unfortunate reality is i think between now and the time that whenever legislation is taken up, there, unfortunately, will be more gun violence and there will be more instances to remind us of the acute need for some of these things we're talking about. when you talk with officers who are walking the beat every day, what do they think is the best way to prevent gun violence? >> certainly we feel as though a national background check would help the situation out significantly. i want to point out to our viewers over the last two weeks across america, over 13 incidents where 6 police officers were killed and over 10 wounded. a recent police executive research forum study this year h six cities in america, $38 million, $38 million in costs due to firearms violence in america. over $100 billion is estimated
per year in loss due to violent gun crime in america. it's time to address this issue. >> you know, matt, final question to you, you know, one of the challenges we know certainly the atf has had in terms of doing its job and sort of making some of these things become a reality is that they haven't had a leader for a very long time, and part of the reason for that is that this is now a senate confirmed position. the nra was part of pushing that. do you think there could be any will to try to change that back to being a presidential appointment without having to go through the senate confirmation process which seems a little bit ridiculous at this point? >> i doubt it. i mean, obviously, the atf needs a head. whether it's -- conservatives will talk all day about operation fast and furious. clearly they need a head. i want to say this about the nra. i think they've become -- they are a very powerful lobby. there's no doubt about it, but i think they've become a bit of a bogeyman here. it was just a couple weeks ago
everybody was talking about grover norquist and americans for tax reform and they have this pledge that congressmen sign, and he was blamed for being the reason republicans wouldn't raise taxes. well, it turns out norquist said, hey, plan 3w678d "b" is ou can raise taxes on millionaires and republicans still wouldn't vote for it. the nra is powerful but the gun laws we have or don't have are because of the constitution, because of the american public's public opinion and because of the supreme court decision such as heller. >> a couple things though. when we talk about grover norquist we know behind the scenes members were calling norquist to say, hey, i'm still with you, buddy, right? and when we talk about the nra, one of the things that strikes me is we've seen these polls that suggest like 74% of nra membership don't agree with the leadership. but when are they going to step up and do something? that's part of the problem here. >> i'm not going to disagree with you in the sense that, yes,
i think the national rifle association is an incredibly powerful lobby. there's no doubt about it. >> on both sides of the aisle. >> part of the reason they're powerful is a lot of people believe what they believe, and there are a lot of americans all across the country who, you know, don't want big brother registering their guns or knowing -- >> knowing they're a criminal and are trying to buy multiple guns and ammo? >> i think most americans certainly would want to know that. and i think you should have to show your license. >> james peterson, chief jim johnson, and matt lewis, thank you. next, president obama won 70% of the latino vote. all right, gop, it's your move. [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news.
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is a promise, and with all due respect you didn't keep that promise. >> president obama said the biggest failure of his first term was the failure to win comprehensive immigration reform but a new term means a new chance to make good on that promise. because of the strong support he received from latinos who gave the president more than 70% of their vote, there will be a lot of pressure on the white house to get a bill passed in congress. but the question is can the president deliver. over the last couple weeks we've seen a lot of things be added to the quote, unquote, top of the list. are you optimistic about the prospects of getting something done and having it stay at the top of the list? >> it's in the republican party's best interest to actually move on comprehensive immigration reform. we started talking about the issue of fiscal cliff and how we're going to fill our coffers. one of the fastest way to make sure you earn revenue is by
passing comprehensive immigration. everyday workers are actually competitive. come on. >> more taxpayers. that's expanding the tax base, come on. >> it's a good thing. >> but i think we can't underscore enough the importance for the republican party, i mean, they have done miserably with latino voters. so they clearly have to be on board for this to work. i want to play something that the president said during the campaign about the republicans and immigration. let's take a listen. >> if they have seen that people who care about this issue have turned out in strong numbers, that they will rethink it if not because it's the right thing to do, at least because it's in their political interest to do so. >> people turned nout strong numbers. there is a political interest when you talk about taxes. is that going to mean the republicans are going to do the right thing or are going to do
what's in their best political interest to do? >> i think in this case it's both. i think it's the right thing to do for americans, but it's also the right thing for the republicans in their political interest if they actually want anything outside of control of just the house. they actually need the latino vote for senatorial seats and they need it also for the white house. in order for them to do so, they're going to have to start crafting policy and something that's smart. it's interesting the division you're seeing within the republican party. the fact that rubio wants piecemeal legislation and mccain, who was a champion of comprehensive immigration reform, keeps saying that's the way to do it. i think the republican party, whether it's mccain or lindsey graham realizes by doing a comprehensive immigration reform bill, they wipe their hands and start tackling the issues. by doing it piecemeal they continue dividing the latino community. that's not in their interest. >> in the exit polling, a large
percentage support comprehensive immigration reform. that wedge we've seen tried before between african-americans and latinos doesn't exist. so point being the momentum seems to be there for comprehensive reform and yet what you have the republicans put forward just a few weeks ago was not comprehensive reform. >> that's exactly right. not only is it not comprehensive, they're not even listening to their constituency within their own party. the ivivaevangelical movement h said we need some sort of comprehensive immigration reform. you're not talking about stapling visas to doctoral students but the valedictorians and dream act kids. that's the importance with the republican party is you're seeing their base shifting, but the lawmakers, they, themselves, refuse to. >> let's hope we keep the pressure on the president and get this done. thank you maria teresa kumar. don't have the hops for hoops with your buddies?
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the president arrived back at the white house today from hawaii with just five days left to avert the fiscal cliff. joining me now from the white house is nbc's correspondent peter alexander. peter, we have a man and his dog roaming around that white house. what can you tell me about the conflicting reports that the president will be meeting with congressional leaders, boehner, mcconnell, reid, and pelosi tomorrow? >> reporter: that's the most festive image we have seen come from washington, d.c., is the president with his cute dog outside the rose garden, but frankly, karen, the political paralysis still exists here right now. there were reports earlier today that you noted coming from the hill, scott brown among others saying the white house was sending up a new proposal. the white house says that's certainly not the case. there were reports the white house was inviting all four congressional leaders here to the white house for a private meeting tomorrow to try to push this thing through to avert the fiscal cliff. the white house says as of this moment there is no meeting
scheduled for tomorrow. we sort of remained where we were when the president first arrived here. in the eyes of the white house it's in the hands of the republicans at the capital, up to mitch mcconnell not to filibuster a bill already there and up to john boehner to allow a vote in the house. >> peter, publicly obviously we're seeing a lot of back and fort between republicans and democrats, but privately what are you hearing from the white house from your contacts in terms of any type of enthusiasm that they think there may be or hope that there could be possibly some way to avert this cliff? >> reporter: acknowledging at this point we're pretty much reading tea leaves. in the conversations i've had, they're saying they're neither optimistic nor pessimistic. they say they'd like to get this done. their conditions haven't really changed. they feel like they've made the necessary concessions to this point, but they acknowledge the potential for republicans to say we're going to wait this one out until the new year, until john boehner is re-elected perhaps as
speaker on january 3rd, and then at that point, you know, they concede republicans may say that while we were able to lower taxes, but the argument from the white house really is, as it has been all along, what they're trying to do is to extend these bush era tax cuts for those below $250,000, and frankly that's the number they'd really like to stick to. >> it strikes me there's also a bit of gamesmanship in terms of the semantics of whether or not the house republicans will vote for or against tax cuts or tax breaks. nbc's peter alexander, thank you. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics...
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